What is it that drives a nation towards economic growth and sustainability?

Some argue it is the entrepreneurial spirit, for others, it is the people and for a few others, it is the form of governance.

But the point which the authors of this book want to drive across is that for a nation to develop and develop sustainably, there is nothing more important as the reliability of its blue gold; i.e. the reliability of its water sources.

Indeed the importance of water is well known and well-publicised since the times of Doordarshan when a video to that effect (in which the tap of a person brushing his teeth abruptly runs dry when left open idly for too long) used to adorn the screens of our black and white televisions day in and day out.

That was long ago, people think, and since then a lot more awareness and action has been taken towards the urgency of the looming Indian water crisis, but is it really so? ask the authors.

The authors, in this brilliant piece of research, Thirsty Nation: Priorities for India’s Water Sector, point out towards the unreliable water dependency of our nation on Monsoons and how that can prove to be very harmful if corrective actions are not taken on time.

The concept of virtual water, unknown to me (and I am sure many others) is path-breaking and if applied can make a huge difference to India’s water sector.

My readers will be astonished to know that it takes 2900 gallons (1 gallon is 3.785 litres) of virtual water to produce a simple pair of blue jeans, 1857 gallons to produce a pound of beef, 634 gallons for a hamburger, 500 gallons for a pound of chicken and 9 gallons for a simple one cup tea.

Many impending issues in India’s water sector are highlighted and brought to the front through extensive and meticulous research and careful application.

The concept of water footprint and its relevance in today’s world is also worth knowing.

Good examples in the form of water best-practises by few Indian companies are highlighted in detail and it sets forth the platform on which other companies will soon establish their water responsibility.

Moving on to the positives and the negatives of Thirsty Nation: Priorities for India’s Water Sector, I liked the way in which the book inspires the readers to act and act early.

Having read about how big an impact manufacturing companies can have on the groundwater table of its surrounding areas, I soon found myself suggesting about a water audit of our company.

The concepts of the book are very clear and concise and the use of examples was indeed well delivered. The cover is also intriguing and is good enough to draw the attention of even non-non-fiction readers.

The issue I had with the book was that it was a little too academic for my taste and I believe if written in a more storytelling way the book could have appealed to a larger audience and thus contributed a little more towards the nation’s water priorities.

Altogether, the message of the book can be summed in one very precise line – “The bitter truth that we all need to face is that we do not have any substitute for water”

I would recommend Thirsty Nation: Priorities for India’s Water Sector to non-fiction readers who are interested in such kind of works and have a penchant for figures and tables and illustrations augmented by very relevant facts and statistical data.

In the end, I want my readers to let me know their feelings about this review by dropping in a line below.